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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Passover: Offering sight to the blind

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt; and I shall take out My legions ... with great judgments.

The Exodus narrative contains one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology: How could the Almighty harden Pharaoh's heart -- seemingly take away the ruler's free will -- and then hold him accountable for his actions?

The question contains its own answer in the form of another question: by what rationale did Pharaoh defy the clearly supernatural power that transformed his country, the greatest empire in the world, into a wasteland? Indeed, how could any ruler, no matter how wicked, no matter how obsessed with power, allow his nation and his people to be systematically beaten into ruin? The answer is obvious: He couldn't. At least not indefinitely.

And so it was with Pharaoh. Throughout the first five plagues, through blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, and pestilence, Pharaoh hardened his own heart, steeling himself against the mounting evidence of divine intervention, rationalizing to himself that no single power could truly direct the forces of nature against him.

But finally even Pharaoh's stubbornness reached its breaking point. Boils and fiery hail and locust swarms and palpable darkness proved too much for even Pharaoh's reckless disregard for inescapable reality. Faced with such miracles, such open revelation of divine providence, even Pharaoh's resistance had to buckle.

And so, not to remove but to preserve Pharaoh's free will, providence interceded to harden his heart, to restore a balance of subjectivity before otherwise irrefutable miracles, thereby allowing Pharaoh to choose whether to take heed of all that was happening around him or to continue ignoring and denying the obvious. And as he had hardened his own heart, as he had made himself callous and insensitive to the clearest messages of the divine will, so did he persist in his insensitivity, right up to the moment of his own destruction.


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History has proven nothing if not that history repeats itself. And so we find that, upon entering the season of miracles and of our own redemption from the hands of a despotic ruler, we have witnessed the death throws of a modern-day despot, a contemporary tyrant too stubborn to recognize the hopelessness of his plight, too arrogant to concede the inevitability of his fate, too wicked to turn back from the abyss rather than take many thousands of his own people with him to oblivion.

How could he not have seen the writing on the wall? Perhaps here too the hand of Providence intervened, hardening the heart of the dictator who made a career of hardening his own heart. Is there not in the events of today the unmistakable echo of this same season in times long past? Yet Iraq's modern-day Pharaoh is not the only one who could not see, whose heart resisted reason. Onlookers throughout the world rose to his defense and cried out in the name of an impossible peace. Just imagine if we were enslaved by Pharaoh today what these voices would have been saying: Innocent Egyptians are dying in the plagues. Let's negotiate with Pharaoh, and give him more time to grant concessions. By what right do we dare rise up and assert ourselves against the status quo?

In fact, the Talmud records that four out of five Jews chose to remain in Egypt, forgetful of the slavery and oppression that had gone before, naively hopeful that a reformed Pharaoh would deal with them more kindly than he had for generations. Abdicating their part in the divine mission of their people, they remained in Egypt. And so they were buried there, victims of their own folly, martyring themselves for future generations to learn from the blind, irrational hope that led them down the path of self destruction.

As the earth wakes from its wintry slumber, the season of Passover offers us the same opportunity for renewal that it offered our ancestors more tha 3,300 years ago. And as the days grow longer and brighter, as we wipe the torpor of winter from our eyes, we have a chance to look at the world anew, to see with unclouded vision, to think with unfuzzied minds, to crack the layer of frost that has hardened around our hearts. Now is our greatest opportunity to approach life with an eagerness and an enthusiasm that will take us forward into the future, and also back to reconnect with the past, to free ourselves from the slavery of cultural myopia and recognize the daily miracles of our lives and recall the higher purpose that defines us as a people.

JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis. He is the author of books on Judais philosophical themes.

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